Importance of Setting Boundaries

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One thing that I have always struggled with is setting boundaries. I was too busy with being concerned about people liking me and avoiding conflict. Now that I’m self-reflecting, I have realized now more than ever how essential setting boundaries are. Not only does it help prevent conversations that make you uncomfortable, but it also keeps your privacy to yourself. The fewer people that know your business, the less likely you have to worry about information getting out. I came up with four steps to help with setting new boundaries within your relationships.

Decide Which Boundaries to Set
Before you can set boundaries, you need to determine what your limits need to be. Get a pen and paper to write down your limits and to whom each category represents. For example, finances and dating are off-limits to parents for discussion. Follow this exercise for others, such as friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. Doing this will help with oversharing information as well. Conversations should be a dance, and if it’s turning into a solo act, you’re sharing too much. Having boundaries will help you with not sharing details before it’s safe to do so.

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Start Implementation of Your Boundaries
Now here comes the fun part of implementing the new boundaries that you set. It won’t be easy at first, but people will learn to adjust over time. You will most likely get backlash from folks closest to you but stick with it. People who love you will respect your boundaries after some time. Start with someone who will be least resistant to your limits. That will give you the confidence to continue down this new path. Don’t give up easily if people start to provide you with a hard time. People will try to see how far they can go, but enforcing your boundaries will let them that’s not possible.

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Continue to Reinforce Your Boundaries
The best way to keep people on board with your boundaries is to continue to enforce them. Once someone tries to overstep, you have to shut it down immediately. Also, people need to know there are consequences to their actions. For example, if you told someone that dating was off-limits and they continue to push, the result is that they don’t get to speak with you. I understand that sounds harsh, but you have to put your foot down. People need to respect the boundaries you have set forth. However, if you don’t consistently enforce your limits, people will walk all over you. You have to be intentional for people to understand why your boundaries are vital for them to follow.

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Reassess Your Boundaries as Needed
As life changes, so should your boundaries. There may be new topics to add or old ones to remove. Whichever way it goes, continue to reevaluate your boundaries. Make sure you do this often to avoid conflict when a topic comes up that you weren’t expecting. For example, a newly married couple will receive unsolicited advice from different people. It can even become overwhelming at times. When a new life event like this occurs, your boundaries need to include it. That way, people will understand that every new life event is not up for discussion. If you do decide to share, it will be your choice to do so.

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Setting boundaries can sound scary if you never did it before. It can seem like a difficult undertaking at first, but it’s worth it in the end. I recently started implementing boundaries, and it’s working out great. I’m not forcing myself to discuss or do things I’m not necessarily comfortable doing. The beautiful thing about boundaries is that it helped me improve my self-care and improve my overall mental health. Boundaries are helpful because it sets expectations of what topics you will share and which ones are off-limits. Don’t look at it as a bad thing, but something beneficial in the long run.

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Be sure to check out the discussion questions below before you go, and I’ll chat with you in the next blog.

Do you have boundaries set up? What type of challenges did you face while implementing your limits? 

Quarantine Life Part 3: Embracing Change

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I understand that people need things to return to normal. Keep in mind our previous way of life wasn’t all that glamorous. We worked long hours, hardly spent time with family, gave away our dreams, and for some trying to keep up with the Joneses. This quarantine time has been very reflective for me, reflecting on my life pre-COVID to now. I don’t want things to go back to how they were. Yes, I’m looking forward to getting back outside, but I want things to be different. In the coming paragraphs, I’m going to discuss why change after the COVID pandemic is a good thing and what I expect to change. With the current reset, we’ve now is the perfect time to examine our lives to see what changes we can make for the better. 

Family Time

I’m close to my family, but if I’m honest, we could be spending more time together. I can’t remember the last time I’ve spoken to my family this much. We’ve been reaching out more via phone calls and video chats. We even made plans to do more traveling and spend more time together very soon. This ordeal made us realize now more than ever the importance of family. Having loved ones who genuinely care for you is so amazing. You have to embrace and cherish those moments. Anytime that we get to spend together is a blessing that we mustn’t take for granted. Life is fleeting, and this quarantine is proving that every day. Live in the moment for as long as you can and let go of unnecessary baggage. Move forward in love is the best option and provides a more fulfilling life. 

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Work/Life Balance

Before COVID, I was working a lot. Not as much as I’ve been in the past but enough to interfere with my life. Cue in traveling, which helped to break up the tedious daily routine. I would have fun while enjoying a break from work. Now during this quarantine, I’ve had time to reflect on the things that matter in this world. Honestly, work is not as important as your life. Anyone working until oblivion makes no sense, especially since these companies will replace you in a heartbeat. Supporting yourself and your family is critical, but there needs to be a balance. Take those vacations, sick, and personal days. Work will be there once you return. Burning yourself out will only cause resentment, depression, and anger into your life. You don’t want to look back on what you should’ve done. There are no do-overs in life, so it’s best to live it to the fullest. 

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Dream Chaser

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my heart as I believed that I could never make a living doing what I loved. Instead, I took up a more practical skill to make an honest living. The projections that others put on you is more of a reflection of themselves than you. I wish I would’ve listened and followed my gut instinct years ago. My regret as far as writing goes is that I should’ve started sooner. Anyway, it’s better late than never. I’m telling you that narrative as an example to chase your dreams. Sure, people will think you’re out of your mind, but so what? Do you want to look back on your life and wish, or do you want to live for you now? That’s your only option as you can’t go after your dreams and please people. If people are going to be mad, at least be winning at your goals. During this quarantine, you see how quickly things can change in a matter of minutes. Chase your dreams with the highest amount of urgency and give people something to discuss. 

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Love Unapologetically

One thing that saddens me during this time is the lack of empathy for others. I hear people say I don’t know anyone impacted, so the virus isn’t that serious. That is beyond disrespectful to the men and women who risk their lives daily as essential employees. I know four people who suffered from COVID, and one person still battling it. I never thought I would live in a world where this would be the norm. As a human being, you need to show compassion to others. You are blessed not to know anyone personally, but don’t be miserable about it to others. Also, let’s please learn to celebrate someone else’s successes. The number of negative responses I see regarding someone saying they purchased a new home, a new promotion, etc. is unwarranted. Have some of you lost your humanity? That’s why things aren’t going right for you because you can’t be happy for others. When someone is in their winning season, cheer them on. I’m sure you want the same thing when it’s your turn. Learn to be happy for others and watch how you become blessed—being mean spirited blocks your happiness every time. Don’t be afraid to give and spread love. Love is something that we all can’t get enough of, and it’s best when shared among many people. 

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That concludes the last part of my quarantine life series. I hope you all enjoyed reading as much as I had fun writing it. I understand how easy it is to look at this from a negative vantage point. My intention with creating this series was to show the positive aspects during the quarantine life. This reset button, as I like to call it, allows us to reevaluate our lives for the better. I understand the difficulties many are facing, and I pray that things turn around very soon. I hope that this series gave you some solace of better days ahead. If I learned anything, it’s that perception is everything. If I perceive it isn’t good, then it is. However, if I believe things are lovely, then they are. As the old saying goes, perception is reality. It’s up to you which reality you want to represent you. 

Don’t forget to check out the discussion question before you go, and I’ll see you next time!

What do you want to change or stay the same after quarantine? Why or why not? 

Quarantine Life Part 2: Glow Up

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With all the time we have to think and focus on what’s to come. Now is the best time to work on the things you’ve been putting off. There’s only so much television, social media, and phone conversations you can have. At some point, you have to take action. While everyone else is focusing on mundane things, you can be working on your glow up. Yes, there is no time like the present. I was moping around complaining about what I’m going to do? There’s only so much working and Netflix I can take. Besides the fact of being alive (Thank God), I have too much free time to waste. I’m not bashing anyone who may feel that surviving is good enough for them. I hope nobody feels slighted or ridiculed in any way. This post is for those people who want to glow up and need an extra incentive to do so.

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Fitness

I’ve been talking about wanting to work out again for a while. I felt the pounds coming on, and I was over it! Through the power of the Internet (via Facebook), my former boot camp coach contacted me after reading my comment about exercising. It started as a 21-day calorie quarantine crusher challenge. I’m currently on the 21-day 2.0 version, and this week I started the healthy living portion of the program. I’m addicted to working out again in a short amount of time. I’ve continuously been exercising since April 6th. I lost 4 inches so far, and I can’t believe how strong I’m becoming. I’m pushing myself like I never have before. I have more motivation behind why I’m taking this fitness journey seriously this time around. I may or may not share some time in the future. My main point is to set a realistic goal of getting into shape, and you’ll become addicted as well. Fitness has helped to improve my mood, which brings me to my next point of self-care.

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Self-Care

I speak about therapy often on this blog, so there’s no surprise why it’s apart of this post. Mental health issues are skyrocketing during this time. The self-isolation alone is enough to drive anyone crazy. Be sure to check in with yourself daily. Whether you decide to seek therapy or not, you need to have an outlet. The self-isolation isn’t the time to hold your emotions in as it can have dire consequences. You can journal as well if you don’t feel comfortable sharing with others. Anything to express how you feel will do wonders. The main point is to get rid of those negative thoughts in your head. Be careful how you speak to yourself and what you allow yourself to hear. Negative talk can seep into your brain and get into your sub-conscience. Then ultimately, it will manifest into disruptive behaviors. Now is a perfect time to work on self-care if that’s an area that needs improvement. You have loads of time to practice, so get to it!

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Career

I wrote a few posts back about my plans to get a new job this year. I started the process, but so far it hasn’t panned out. Rejection is redirection into an area I need to be. I began to look inward at my network for a job as I would like to have a regression proof career. That regardless of what’s going on in the world, I would still be able to support myself. I had two informational interviews so far, and I’m currently working on the third. I struggled to try to secure these networking opportunities before coronavirus, but now it’s happening—the exact definition of a blessing in disguise. Based on the feedback I received, I need to get additional training under my belt to aid in securing a new job. It will show future employers that I’m capable and ready for the new role. I know which training I need to take because it’s what’s required/most requested. This information is critical because, without these informational interviews, I wouldn’t have known. When the next job prospects come along, I’ll be more prepared. My biggest takeaway was if I want to get to the next level, then utilize my network. You never know who someone knows or how that one interaction can bring you closer to your dreams.

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Finances

It is sad to hear on the news about the unemployment numbers. I’m grateful I can work from home and still receive a paycheck. The quarantine shed light for me about how I need to create a better financial safety net for myself. As the old saying goes, if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. I recently checked my 401(k) to see when the last time I re-balanced it. (If you aren’t familiar with the term, research it.) That is something that you should check periodically. You have to change your elections to receive the maximum benefit. Any safety net you create has to be under constant review. The safety nets include (in addition to 401(k)) Roth IRA, savings account, CD, stocks and bonds, 529 plans, Simple IRA, SEP IRA, traditional IRA, and Roth 401(k) to name a few. I’m not trying to provide any financial advice. This information is provided strictly as informational, and it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you and your family. Having these safety nets removes the worry about what will happen in the event of an economic downturn. Even if you aren’t in a position to participate now, you can still learn for later use. The more you know, the more informed financial decisions you can make in the future.

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Your idea of glowing up can be completely different from mine, but you get the picture. It is a blessing to have this much free time on your heads. You can concentrate on all the things that you swept under the rug. Glowing up isn’t limited to clothing/appearance (I have purchased new clothes, so stay tuned world) but about what you’re feeding your mind and soul. I’m going to leave you with a quote my fitness coach told me. “If you don’t feel like doing something, then now is the best time to start.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Now go out there and glow up like a diamond!

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Don’t forget to check out the discussion question before you go, and I’ll see you in the next post.

How do you plan on glowing up during this quarantine?

Surviving The Holidays

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It’s that time of the year where it can be stress-inducing or fun times with family/friends. Some people look forward to the holidays while others look for an exit. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, the holidays either gives you feelings of intense joy or misery. No fear because I’m going to help you with surviving the holidays. Take a look at my six steps below to have the best holiday ever! As always, let me know your thoughts and share your tips with others to help them improve their holiday as well.

Time Limit

If there is a particular family member who pushes your buttons or you can only handle them in small doses, then you need to set a limit on how long you will stay. You can schedule prior engagements around family time so you can give a heads up that you will be leaving early. For example, you can let the family know ahead of time that you will stay one to two hours. This way, people won’t be surprised once you head out of the outing. You will create a win/win situation. You get to hang out with family, but you don’t have to stay longer than required. Great way to keep your mental health in check while getting that family time in for the holidays.

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Self-Care

One thing people tend to forget about is self-care during the holidays. It’s essential to listen to your mind and body during this time. If your body is tired, it’s best to get that much-needed rest. Remember the old saying health is wealth. If you aren’t feeling your best, you won’t be interested in spending time with friends/family. Of course, the holidays adds even more stress that you don’t need. Start to use some self-care tools such as journaling,  spa, meditation, etc. The point is to get centered and feel great, so you can be your best while enjoying the holiday season.

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Significant Other/Children

One of the biggest reasons people dread being around family is annoying questions about children and a partner. I get these questions often, and I brush it off. It took me a while to get to that point, but no worries if you haven’t reached this level yet. People are naturally curious and nosy. Once you reach a certain age, people expect these things to have occurred. Remember doing something in your own time is okay. It’s nobody business why something hasn’t happened yet. Just because everyone has done it,  doesn’t mean something is wrong if you haven’t. Don’t even engage when these conversations come up. I noticed that the more you focus on it, the more people would poke at you. Once you ignore people, they tend to leave you alone. If you find that doesn’t work, let this person or people know if they don’t back off, then you will limit your interactions with them. Once folks see you mean business, that should get them to back away. If not, these are people you need to move away from your life.

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Budgeting

When it comes to Christmas people, tend to go all out. At the same time, it’s important to remember your life outside of Christmas. Don’t go broke playing Christmas as your bills aren’t interested in the gifts you brought for others. The bills are still due regardless of the holidays coming up. If you have to set limits for how much you can comfortably spend, speak up about it. The true meaning of the season is the thought, not the amount of the gift. If it’s going to cause you financial hardship, it’s not worth it. Let people know upfront about your budget requirements. The folks who love you won’t mind if you require a cap on the gifts this year. If anyone does give you grief, that’s someone to take off your list. You don’t need ungrateful people in your life.

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Creating New Traditions

One of my favorite things about the holidays is existing and creating new traditions. As we age-previous traditions may lose its luster or it doesn’t hold the same significance. The great thing about the holiday is you can always create a new tradition. You see more instances of Friendsgiving is becoming more popular is a result of new traditions. People also have ugly sweater parties and girls night in Christmas pajamas. It’s another way to get into the holiday spirit while creating a new tradition that can get passed down. I created new traditions myself. I ask friends to come over to help me decorate for Christmas, and I wear Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve while wrapping last-minute gifts, and I have my friends (myself included) wear ugly sweaters during our gift exchange. These little joys help to get me in the holiday mood and avoid being a Scrooge. Helping to create traditions has helped me with learning to appreciate Christmas more than I have. As a child, you focus on the gifts, but as an adult, it’s more important to spend these precious moments with loved ones.

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Cherish The Moments

I saved the best for last. I know the holidays can be a drag, but remember, it’s a blessing to have folks who get on your nerves. I know a few of you of said, “What,” but hear me out. Some people have nowhere to go on the holidays. That could be due to circumstances or life in general. The beauty of you having friends/family is that you can change things for the better at any time. These moments you can’t get back. There are no rewinds or do-overs in this life. If a simple sorry or I forgive can change the outcome, then let it. It’s not worth going through another holiday being upset with each other. Love a little more, and spread good holiday cheer. If you need encouragement, volunteer at a soup kitchen this holiday season. That would quickly help you to put things into perspective. Enjoy your time with your family, especially if you only see them once a year. That’s even more of a reason to cherish every moment.

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Do you think any of these tips will help? What are some tips you use to survive the holidays? Share your thoughts below.